Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Main content start
Defense Innovation Scholar

Syed Faraz

Syed Faraz is a Muslim immigrant from India. He journeyed with his family from autocratic states to America’s freedoms and that journey changed the course of his life. After studying Economics/Politics at the University of Texas – Arlington on a merit scholarship, he resolved to defend those freedoms that changed his family’s life. 

As a Navigator in the Air Force, Faraz flew over 630 combat hours in reconnaissance jets, played a crucial role in the Obama-directed rescue of 40,000 refugees, and led a campaign to deliver aid to 1,600 earthquake survivors. His last three years in uniform, he was deeply engaged in national security innovation as the CTO for the U-2 community. With his team, Faraz raised over $100 million for grassroots innovation initiatives, inspired the Air Force to launch a $64 million innovation fund, and helped found the DoD’s first unit-level Federal Lab. The U-2 Lab created a historic first by deploying AI on a military aircraft. To share these lessons, he launched a case study with Harvard Business School exploring change in bureaucracies. 

Faraz holds an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Zuckerman Fellow and had the privilege to work with former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. He is pursuing an MBA from Stanford, where he is a Defense Innovation Scholar, a Tillman Scholar, and a LunaCap Fellow. Most importantly, he is a father to two amazing children.